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GAME DAY: Blueshirts Set for Coyote Clash

Rangers Seeking 10th Win in 12 Games vs. Arizona

by Michael Obernauer

RANGERS vs. COYOTES, 7 p.m.
Madison Square Garden
MSG Network, 98.7 ESPN

GAME DAY
The Rangers continue their season-long five-game homestand on Tuesday night, aiming in one sense to get themselves turned around, and in another sense to pick up right where they left off.

Their best 20 minutes of hockey so far in 2019-20 were not quite enough to complete their comeback on Sunday against the Canucks. And so on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden they will look to rebound against a team they have defeated nine times in their last 11 meetings, but one that comes to Broadway winners of three straight.

Alexandar Georgiev will take the start for the Rangers, his first at Madison Square Garden in 2019-20. Georgiev made 33 saves in Newark his last time out, last Thursday, and is 1-1 in his two starts this season. The Arizona Coyotes will counter with Darcy Kuemper, who has allowed a total of five goals in winning his last three starts in a row.

It was Henrik Lundqvist stopping 40 shots on Sunday afternoon against the Canucks -- he was perfect against six shots in the third period while his teammates threw 17 at Jacob Markstrom, who could only be beaten by a perfect Artemi Panarin finish as the Canucks held onto a 3-2 win for dear life.

"We should embrace what happened the last 25 minutes" of Sunday's game, David Quinn said, "but what we can't do is run away and hide from what happened in the first 35, that's for sure. I think it's a balancing act of staring the whole game in the face and understanding why we were in the situation we were in after the first 35 minutes, and all of a sudden things started to change our way in the last 25."

"You see what we are capable of doing," said Mika Zibanejad. "Now it's just a matter of finding a way to do it over 60 minutes."

Panarin's goal was his fourth in six games as a Ranger, grabbing a share of the team lead along with Zibanejad, who has points in four out of six games and 11 total points on the year. Those two will begin Tuesday's game with a new linemate, as Jesper Fast -- two goals in his last three games and four points on the season -- takes a turn on their right wing.

They'll have to solve an Arizona team that in seven games has surrendered a League-low 13 goals, and only seven goals while playing 5-on-5. 

After an 0-2 start, Arizona has points in five straight games (4-0-1), for its best start in six years. Nick Schmaltz has points in all five of those games and leads the Coyotes with eight (3-5--8) through their seven games this year.

But the Coyotes already have had to absorb a couple hits to their blue line, with Niklas Hjalmarsson expected out until at least January because of a fractured leg, and Jordan Oesterle placed on injured reserve over the weekend for concussion protocol. Others have stepped up, including rookie Kyle Capobianco, who scored his first NHL goal against the Senators on Saturday, while Oliver Ekman-Larsson also scored his first of the season.

The Coyotes flew here on Sunday to acclimate to their first Eastern Time Zone trip this season, four games in seven days concluding in Buffalo next Monday. The Rangers have four games remaining on their homestand.

PROJECTED LINEUPS
RANGERS
10 Panarin -- 93 Zibanejad -- 17 Fast
20 Kreider -- 21 Howden -- 24 Kakko
48 Lemieux -- 16 Strome -- 89 Buchnevich
38 Haley/14 McKegg -- 28 Andersson -- 42 Smith

25 Hajek -- 8 Trouba
18 Staal -- 23 Fox
76 Skjei -- 77 DeAngelo

40 Georgiev
30 Lundqvist

COYOTES
9 Keller -- 21 Stepan -- 81 Kessel
83 Garland -- 18 Dvorak -- 8 Schmaltz
40 Grabner -- 15 Richardson -- 13 Hinostroza
67 Crouse -- 34 Soderberg -- 36 Fischer

23 Ekman-Larsson -- 55 Demers
6 Chychrun -- 33 Goligoski
75 Capobianco -- 46 Lyubushkin

35 Kuemper
32 Raanta

NUMBERS GAME

The Rangers are 9-1-1 in their last 11 matchups with the Coyotes.

Mika Zibanejad's 11 points represent the third-highest total through six games in Rangers history. Rod Gilbert (in 1971-72) and Ron Greschner (in 1984-85) each had 12 points in the first six.

Alexandar Georgiev was 7-3-3 with a .931 save percentage at the Garden last season.

Arizona's power play went 0-for-9 over the season's first four games; it is 6-for-13 during this three-game winning streak.

Clayton Keller led the Coyotes last season with 47 points (14-33--47), the lowest team-leading total in the NHL.

Since the start of last season, Arizona has killed 84.7 percent of penalties, tops in the League. 


PLAYERS TO WATCH

Chris Kreider, who will return to playing left wing after one game up on the right, has goals in six of his last eight games against the Coyotes, and seven goals in nine meetings overall.

Conor Garland had his first career two-goal game back on Jan. 6 against the Rangers. Garland has scored four times in the last five games.

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